From 2015, Portuguese legislation began to grant nationality, through naturalization, to those who prove the offspring of Sephardic Jews.
Families from all over Brazil are discovering the right to Portuguese nationality through sephardic proof, provided for in the art. 6th, No. 7 of the Nationality Law (Law No.37/63). Ceará was the state of Brazil with the first case of nationality recognition through this law with Nertan Ribeiro. He learned of this right by a genealogist, who was willing to make his family tree until he reached the ancestors sephardic Branca Dias and Belchior da Rosa.
“My nationality process at the Conservatory (body responsible for granting on the birth certificate it took about eight months and it was worth it. This was a way that found to honor my late father and also a way to fix residence in Portugal,” nertan explains.
Claudiane Juaçaba also obtained her Portuguese citizenship. She and her spouse became aware of the law granting Portuguese nationality to descendants of Jews through family members. “Brazil’s moment of instability has made us seek this right and also because free traffic in Europe with a red passport interests us, and, who knows in the future, we can spend a bigger season in Portugal,” says Claudiane Juaçaba.
Renato Martins is a partner and lawyer at the Portuguese firm Martins Castro Consultoria Internacional,specialized in nationality processes through sephardic Jews. He explains that the law was a form of historical reparation. “In Brazil, although this possibility is still almost unknown, there are countless families with sephardic origin and who, therefore, may apply for dual citizenship. The process, in Portugal, is carried out through documentary evidence and takes about 12 to 18 months. It is undoubtedly one of the fastest ways to achieve Portuguese nationality if the applicant has the correct guidelines”, highlights the lawyer.
Who are the Sephardic Jews?
The Sephardic Jews are the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain) at the end of the 15th century and were persecuted by the State and later by the Holy Inquisition, being forced to convert to Catholicism, otherwise they were expelled from the Iberian territory. This fact led to the escape and expulsion of thousands of Jews to various other countries, including Brazil.
The entire process for acquiring nationality through the Sephardic Jews takes three stages:
Step 1: is the genealogical study based on the information of surnames and places of births. From this, the genealogist can identify whether or not there is chances of descent. If so, he prepares the family tree and a study that proves the Sephardic Jewish origin;
Step 2: it is necessary for the Israeli Community to prove the veracity of the previous study and issue an official certificate;
Step 3: with all the necessary documents gathered, the case is initiated before the Portuguese authorities, and the nationality granted by the Minister of Justice.